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In-Box Review
HO scale
62' Bulkhead Flat Car
Trainman® 62' Bulkhead Flat Car, Florida Central Railroad No.96570
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Originally published on:
RailRoad Modeling

62' Bulkhead Flat Car
Series: Trainman®
Roadname, reporting marks and number: Florida Central Railroad, FCEN 96570
Mfg. ID: 20 001 593

Bulkhead flat cars are a frequent sight on U.S. railroads and carry all kinds of loads. This review is one of Atlas' series of HO bulkhead flat cars in their ready-to-run Trainman® family.
    This new model is based on its real life counterpart that is used in general service throughout the United States and Canada for transporting sheet steel, packaged lumber, small and large diameter pipes, structural steel (channel and I-beams), reinforcing bar (rebar), and special loads of various shapes. - Atlas

Inspection track
Atlas securely packs this model in a form-fitted light plastic cradle. The base is hinged to pivot away so modelers don't have to pry the model out - clever! The model is also protected from scuffing with a soft plastic sheet. It is packaged in an end-opening box with a cellophane display window. No parts sheet or other documentation is provided.

This model is based on the 68-foot Gunderson* flat car. It features:
    * Side stake pockets
    * Simulated tie-loops
    * Fishbelly center-sill
    * Prototypical pull-plates and lift rings
    * Metal wheels
    * AccuMate® knuckle couplers

Atlas offers it in three versions: Bulkhead Flat Car; Short Bulkhead Flat Car; 68' Flat Car.

    AAR Class: FB: Bulkhead flat cars. Equipped with fixed or permanently attached movable bulkheads or ends a minimum of three feet in height and flat floor for general commodity loading.
    AAR Type: F443
    Detail Info: Flat Car, Load Limit: 200,000lb and greater, Inside length: 60-75ft
    Plate: C
    Max Gross Weight: 286000
    Load Limit: 203900
    Ext L/W/H: 73' 4" / 10' 6" / 15' 4"
    Int L/W/H: 62' 4" / 9' 6" / 0' 0"

Molding and assembly is top-notch. I did not find any noticeable flash, sink marks, ejector circles or mold seam lines. Nor did I find glue smears. The metal wheels are blackened.

Most of the detail is molded on, either raised or recessed as appropriate. Grab irons and railing and stirrups are not fine scale yet they are not distractingly oversize, either.

A sharply molded hand brake wheel with housing and chain are mounted. While most of the hand holds and stirrups are molded on, the ladders on the ends are separately applied parts consisting of ladders, railing, end walks and other components. Stake pockets are molded to the side sills and wood decking is molded in the cargo sides of the car. Decking is also simulated underneath the car. No wood grain texture was attempted. Fine rivet/bolt detail runs up the edges of the bulkheads and tie-loops, pull-plates and lift rings are molded along the deck. Only the most basic air brake detail is molded to the underside although it is not visible behind the side sills.

Plastic 100-ton roller bearing trucks have good detail.

Paint and lettering
This is where this model shines although FCEN livery is a boring work-a-day basic black with white data stenciling. The only splash of color is a trio of small red letters for South Carolina Central. However, this logo is strange because SCC is part of the Genesee & Wyoming family of railroads; G&W does not show any property in Flordia. Florida Central Railroad is part of the Pinsly Railroad Company; neither companies' websites show any affiliation with the other. Yet two recent photographs of the prototype show the SCC logo; you can view those images via Click here for additional images for this review, below.

Regardless, look at the photos and examine the excellent printing of the data and other stenciling. The only thing I can not read clearly is the built-date, which appears to be "8-88". Excellent!

This car is the 3rd run of the model and offers undecorated models of the three variants. Roadnames for this group are:
    1. AOK (Black/White)
    2. FCEN (Black/White)
    3. TR (Brown/White)
    4. TTX (Yellow/Black/White)
    5. BNSF (Brown/White)
    6. Santa Fe (Brown/White)
    7. TZPR (Gray/Black)
    8. Union Pacifc (MW) (Green/White)

Already a 4th run with new paint schemes & road numbers is scheduled for release in the 2nd Quarter 2014.

Test track
The model measures, end sill to sill, 68 feet. It weighs 3.6 ounces, way out of specs if you conform to NMRA RP-20.1 Car Weight. It does roll nice, though.

This model has good molding. Nothing exceptional, nothing detrimental, just average. It is deficient in weight if you adhere to NMRA standards. Fortunately it has excellent printing, some separately applied parts and metal wheels to raise it out of mediocrity.

It looks good to me and should be a good RTR model for your modern HO layout. Recommended.

Please tell vendors and retailers that you saw this model here - on RailRoadModeling.

* Gunderson entered the rolling stock business in 1958; Gunderson was sold to the FMC Corporation in 1965 and became a division of FMC as the Marine and Rail Equipment Division of FMC (MRED) in 1973. Then in 1985, Greenbriers Companies bought FMC and restored the Gunderson name. Today it is part of Greenbriar Industries.

The Greenbrier Companies Bulkhead Flatcar

Florida Central Railroad

AccuMate® couplers are made under license from AccuRail, Inc.

Click here for additional images for this review.

Highs: Excellent printing, some separately applied parts and metal wheels
Lows: It is deficient in weight.
Verdict: It looks good to me and should be a good RTR model for your modern HO layout.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: HO Scale
  Mfg. ID: 20 001 593
  Suggested Retail: $23.95
  Related Link: Bulkhead Flat Car series
  PUBLISHED: Oct 31, 2013
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to Atlas Model Railroad!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright ©2021 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


Looks like a good one. Thanks for laying it out for us, Fred. I'll look for one of those the next time I go to expand my fleet (probably at Trainfest in Milwaukee in a week). -Sean
OCT 30, 2013 - 07:20 PM

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